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M. C. A. Hogarth
Name: M. C. A. Hogarth
What's This All About?
My life in text: writing, art, massage therapy, fencing, health, humor and language and culture; ethics and society and personal musing.
Author's Other Websites
Stardancer News
The Pursuit of Beauty
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I'm M.C.A. Hogarth, author and artist. I write fiction (science fiction, fantasy, romance, etc), nonfiction (mostly about business and parenthood) and draw pictures, mostly of dragons, elves and people in beautiful clothes. Below you can see some of what I'm doing currently, and check up on my status.

Latest Kickstarter Project
Coming soon in late summer of 2014!


Writing
Latest E-Fiction: Check out the fiction I have online, what order to read it in and where to buy it. Or have a look at my intended publishing schedule for the year.

Latest Paperback: Rose Point, Book 2 of Her Instruments. Space opera; in this case, the continuing adventures of irascible merchant Captain Reese Eddings, as she delves deeply (and unwillingly) into space elf politics...

Current Serial: TBA!

Art
Latest Sale: Originals are for sale here. My Zazzle store offers prints, mugs, shirts, bags and such! Otherwise you can keep up on my offers on Livejournal through my "sale" tag.

General:
If you have a lot of spare time and haven't browsed it yet, I have over 3000 images available on my website, sketches, paintings and comics.

Cons: Watch this Space!

Status
Balance Card 5-Card Readings: Not Available
Balance Card Keepsake Paintings: Not Available
Commissions: Not taking them.
Illustration projects: Not taking them.

P.O. Box
Email me for my address, if you'd like to request materials or send a tip or donation.


MCAH Online Home.
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The sequel to Wingless continues. You can read an introduction to this project here, or catch up using the 'some things transcend' tag or the RSS feed.

Extra long, to take us to the end of the scene, because it seemed cruel to... well, to interrupt it. o_o

Could be broadcast on TV, but fair warning for intimacy.Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - Mercy in You

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Daughter has never been afraid of performing in front of people. Even in preschool, she was fearless in this regard: while the other children wept or fled when asked by their teachers to sing for a room of supportive parents, Daughter plunked herself in front, waved merrily not just to us but to everyone, and belted out the words even if she wasn’t sure of them. She recently graduated to performing in front of small auditoriums for the entire first grade’s families, and was magnificent: memorized her lines and acted them with emphasis, rather than mumbling or rushing through them. The music teacher pulled me aside and urged me to drop-ship her to acting lessons.

This is on my mind while driving her to school today. “So you like singing in front of people?”

“Yeah!” she says.

“It doesn’t scare you at all?” I ask, curious.

“No! Nothing scares me, Mommy.”

I have (ruefully) observed this to be true, for weal and woe. I say, “You know what? I like being in front of people too.”

“Really?” she asks, interested.

“Uh-huh. When I was little I used to sing and act in front of people, and I had the greatest time. I never got scared either. In fact, I still like to be up in front of people.” I smile. “I guess it’s in our blood.”

She is enthused at this revelation of a shared talent. “You know why I don’t get scared?”

“Why?” I ask.

“Because it’s just like a game of Simon Says!”

I pause a moment to hide that my brain is exploding. “Really?”

“Yeah,” Daughter says, thinking it through (at the speed that lightning forks, as usual), “Because Simon Says, when you play, you’re standing in front of everyone, and you say Simon says… stand on one foot!” She pauses, then says, more firmly, “You tell them what to do.”

“And so you’re not scared,” I say. “Because you’re in control.”

Control is a new concept for her, so she is gleeful at the chance to use it. “Yes! I’m in control!”

I am struck by the image of her leaping to the microphone, eyes shining and head high, with all that zest in her voice, utterly unconcerned because she feels that she is controlling her audience with her performance. In that moment, I sense the future and her fearless dive into it. This world is mine! Watch me!

“You’re very good at it,” I say. “I was super-proud of you, you know.”

“I know,” she says, and we’re both content. And if Mommy’s soul is ringing like the inside of a bell, well… she keeps that to herself.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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The sequel to Wingless continues. You can read an introduction to this project here, or catch up using the 'some things transcend' tag or the RSS feed.

This is the moment that defines a relationship that lasts centuries.

In Which Everyone Gives of the Best of Themselves (And yes, it's Safe For Work.)Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - Broken

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The sequel to Wingless continues. You can read an introduction to this project here, or catch up using the 'some things transcend' tag or the RSS feed.

Wait, there's a B Plot?Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - Soothe My Soul

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On a whim I decided it was time to re-read Mercedes Lackey’s The Last Herald Mage trilogy because sometimes you just need some Herald in your life.

As you can see, my paperbacks of this series are old. They are in fact the first ones I bought, way back in the ’80s when they were fresh and new; I have never sold them, because… well, Heralds. And I did pretty well with Book 1 and Book 2, despite my occasional grumbles that I couldn’t read the books in the dark, or prop them up to read while eating, that I needed more than one hand to turn the pages, etc. Then I got to Book 3, which is longer than either of the first two, but apparently needed to fit in about the same size spine/package.

…and I was squinting at the letters.

Squinting. At the letters.

My first thought was a grumbly Where’s the font size toggle on this thing? But I assure you, that was way better than my second, Oh my gosh, I can’t read tiny fonts anymore thought.

-_-

At least my Kindle lets me pretend I still have good eyes.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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alliance-species-size-chart-for-web

People have been asking me for this for a while! So here are the races and species of the Paradox universe all standing together.

Some notes:

1. Obviously, these are averages. The Platies, for instance, never stop growing; Alysha meets one in a story that’s the size of a shuttle…!

2. The Pelted “races” were created by segregation during the Exodus, which means they started out as a bunch of fox-like creatures, a bunch of cat-like creatures, etc, and became Seersa, Tam-illee, Hinichi, etc. A lot of this differentiation happened in order to maximize the chance of successful reproduction (assuming that a like body, mated to someone with a like body, would have a better chance of turning up healthy children). However, there’s a lot of variance in the second generation races. So while the Seersa and Karaka’A (the first two there, with the digitigrade legs) are usually between 4 and 5 feet tall and always have digitigrade legs, some of the segregated races have a lot more variation. The Harat-Shar can be plantigrade or digitigrade, and can be as short as a Karaka’An or as tall as an Asanii. Etc. All the first generation (Seersa and Karaka’An) and second generation (Harat-Shar, Asanii, Tam-illee, Aera, Malari, Hinichi) can interbreed, which is why they’re usually referred to as races.

3. The Malarai, hanging in there behind the Glaseah, is one of the least populous races and may in fact be close to extinction. That’s why I put her in the back. Poor thing.

4. The enormous Akubi back there is a female, the only one of the three sexes to have fluff on the head. The others are just horned. I think.

5. Some pronunciation notes. I honestly don’t care how you pronounce most of these names or species: go with what’s in your head! But for those of you who want to do it the way I do it, there are some weirdnesses, most of them having to do with my originally using the IPA to write the names. Aera used to have a circumflexy thing or whatever: it’s ah EAR ah. Likewise, the ‘ch’ sounds are actually mostly ‘sh’: so “shot CAA vah,” not “chot CAA vah.” Same with the ‘c’ in Ciracaana: it’s ‘sear ah CAA na.’ not ‘keer ah CAA na.’ Also, Seersa is actually “sheer sah” (the IPA for the ‘sh’ sound looks like a normal s!) but so many people say ‘seer sah’ that I have gotten used to that.

So this is the family around Alysha’s point in the timeline (at the start of her career). There are others pending, but I didn’t draw them in…! Spoilers and all!

I obviously should do a “Which Alliance species Are You” game. -_-

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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In the car, leaving school–the leaves overhead are dripping the remains of a spring thunderstorm, and everything in my field of vision is lushly green and rawly gray, still livid from the rain. “So,” I say cautiously, because we are already at the stage where the most common response to ‘How was your day’ is ‘I dunno.’ “How was your day? You had art today, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” she says from the backseat. She’s looking outside.

“Was that fun?”

For once I get an answer. “Yes. We made a rooster. Out of pieces of paper.”

Collage, I think? Sure, why not? “That sounds like fun? Were they different colors?”

“We had to paint the pieces of paper and cut them out,” she says. Now I am puzzled. Paint them? Why? I would have thought construction paper— She is continuing, though. “We painted them in warm colors, cool colors, and neutral colors. Then we cut them out and had to make our roosters out of them. Mine was red!”

I have a moment of blinding disorientation. “You learned about warm and cool colors?” That can’t be right. I didn’t learn about that until middle school, right? And only because I had private lessons, because I’d already been showing my interest by then. “Tell me a cool color you see outside, right now.”

She looks, says instantly, “That car. It’s blue.”

“Good one,” I say. “What about warm?”

“The lines on the road are yellow!”

“Good. What about neutral?”

A pause. Then, surprising me, “The trunks of the trees.”

I look, astonished. They are in fact gray. I know that, but I know because I’m always looking. Most people assume tree trunks are brown, the way they were taught in preschool, and never look at a tree again to be sure. “Yes! Good one!”

We play this game all the way back, even debate about it: there’s a fence on the trip that’s made of red and brown brick, but it’s gotten old and bleached and we were trying to decide if it now qualified as a neutral color or if it was still warm. But I am still astonished. And though I wrack my brain I can’t remember when I learned this rudiment of color theory. I certainly don’t recall it being taught me so young.

***

“While you’re with Maternal Grandmother,” I say to her in the car on a different day, “I’m going to get my hair dyed wild colors! Like maybe purple or yellow!”

“How about blue?” she asks, looking at Twilight Sparkle (who is my co-pilot). “You like blue.”

“I do,” I say. “But the hair lady says blue is very hard to do.”

“Really? Why?”

How to explain this! I think. “Well, everyone’s hair is just a little bit yellow. Even white hair is, just a little bit.”

“Oh!” she says. “So it comes out green!”

…which is exactly what it does, and I am stunned I don’t have to explain it. “Yes! Exactly. It’s very hard to get the hair white enough so that it doesn’t turn out sort of greenish. A good deep blue is very hard. I should just get a wig if I want to do that.”

We debate what color Mommy should dye her hair after that. Daughter proclaims that she wants pink hair. I respond with the age-old maternal reply.

“When you’re older.”

***

I wonder sometimes if she’s going to be an artist, growing up with an artist mom. Sometimes I think that would be wonderful. Sometimes I hope she’ll decide to be an engineer and save herself a lot of grief. Should I encourage her one way or the other? And then I remember how much luck my parents had guiding me into a useful career. Not everyone has my implacability, I know, but somehow I don’t think Daughter will be one of the weak-willed ones. That much, at least, I can be thankful for, no matter how difficult it makes my life now…!

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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The sequel to Wingless continues. You can step backwards using the 'some things transcend' tag. I promise to come up with a proper header soon!

Sometimes it's the unexpected memories that turn you around.

Lisinthir finds himself again.Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - But Not Tonight

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The sequel to Wingless continues. You can step backwards using the 'some things transcend' tag. I promise to come up with a proper header soon!

Our heroes are not proud of this conversation.

Therapists should know better. Or something.Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - Wrong

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I've now finished my re-read of the first three books of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and with all honesty I can say these books are enduring in a way their many derivatives will probably never be. I missed that the first time around; the youthful Jaguar who read them first remembers mostly the melancholic romance of them, and their shocking sensuality, and also VAMPIRES and Lestat-be-still-my-heart-for-I-may-swoon. Older Jaguar, having staggered through several decades since, is a little wiser about more than the surface of things; she sees that not only are they not literal vampire stories, they're not even metaphoric: the Anne Rice vampire is a poetic device, a way of evoking a feeling in the heart and the gut that you understand before your mind catches up with it. And then your sadly deficient brain grapples with the image, the implication, with the taste of it in the mouth, and tries to make sense of it using reason, but the true understanding is already there.

...and that in itself is the essence of the conflict of the series. The tension between the belief in the heart and the deficiencies and marvels of higher reason, and what happens when they no longer align. What is a vampire except a way to put all these questions in stark relief? Here is something so many vampire books lack: a sense for history, for the changing attitudes that have evolved throughout history, evolved or repeated. You believe in the vampires that have seen Rome because they don't act like they were born in this century. Their struggles to reinvent themselves so that modern life doesn't obliterate their sense of identity and context give the narratives their power, and help make sense of the philosophical issues that they discuss when those philosophical issues aren't torturing them.

So there is a sense for the depths of history, and its timelessness--and also its ephemeral nature, because who ever remembers all the details, and isn't the devil in them? And there is philosophy. And there is the poetry. And what's brilliant about the series is that by the time you get to The Queen of the Damned, the vampires are not the only basis for the poetry: the philosophical issues themselves become the lens by which we see an all-too-human psychology. The poem holds its breath, asks questions, observes tragedies. The final answer, given by Lestat in the last chapters, is fittingly not an answer at all, but an act that, once again, we understand like a poem. We laugh in delight, we get it... and then when we try to analyze it, it falls apart. It is the joke that can't be dissected because humor is a beating heart, is the heart that bleeds and lives, and to still it is to lose its vital spark.

What happens to the human psyche in the absence of belief, and where do we find meaning? That's what Anne Rice's vampires want to know. And like a good poem, she lets us glimpse an answer, but it's the one we make for ourselves: a fitting response given the question.

This is literature. I am very glad to have come back to it again.

And I still find myself fond of Lestat. What can I say... some things never change. *grin*

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We return to the sequel to Wingless. You can step backwards using the 'some things transcend' tag. I promise to come up with a proper header soon!

So this is the error upon which all the events that follow turn.

Right, so... this was a super-bad idea.Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - Stripped

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We return to the sequel to Wingless. You can step backwards using the 'some things transcend' tag. I promise to come up with a proper header soon!

This section contains a serious 'oops'.Collapse )

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Current Music: Depeche Mode - Shake the Disease

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In happier news, the dragon pet game that I mention on Twitter is taking new users today! So if you want to join the dragon angst--okay, well, maybe it's just me who makes angst out of it, but dragon soap operas are so much fun!--go on over to Flight Rising to sign up. Use my name as a referrer (micahjaguar) and send me a Friend request! Reina and the clan have been putting together care packages all morning. :)



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So tax time has come and gone and having looked at what I had left after re-investing in my business, the government walked away with half my profit. And this was a wake-up call for jaguars. We don’t do the art for money, but we also don’t do the art so that we can feel we sweated blood to pocket less money than we make at the day job in a month.

The reason I’ve had such a small take-home for the past few years is that I tend to re-invest a lot of my earnings back into the business. The money I make off your tips, the books you buy, the Kickstarters you overfund? Buys print editions of books that don’t have them, pays actors for audiobook editions, buys new covers for books that had quickly-done things I slapped together to just get the book on the shelf. I think of those things as strategic decisions, because I know they’ll pay off in a few years (maybe less, if some weird thing happens and I suddenly have publicity: when the Spots controversy hit, my print edition of Spots moved copies that obviously wouldn’t have sold if they hadn’t been there to answer the unexpected demand).

But the toll here in my health and well-being is becoming insupportable. If the business were earning more, I might be able to swing the kind of forward-thinking decisions that I’ve been making. But it’s not. So I am having to make some hard decisions about what to do in the future.

Here’s the net effect then: there will be no more print or audiobook editions without capital. And since I only have time to run maybe one Kickstarter a year, we’re looking at only one book in the year that will get more than one edition. In addition, I’ll probably be cutting back on other activities (for instance, when I mentioned not having time to answer comments on both of my websites, that’s one of those things). I have some irons in the fire currently, so you’re going to see a few more paper and audiobooks in the next few months. But after that, I’m going to retrench.

I’ll still be writing. I’ll still be serializing. I’ll still do e-book editions (with unimpressive covers). But the money isn’t there for anything else, and the time to go raising that money isn’t either.

I would very much like things to be different! But as much as I love being an artist, I also love being a businesswoman. And we have looked at the bottom line, and all the Jaguars are in agreement: I can’t treat this like a Real Job because it just isn’t earning like one. Wrecking my health to try to make it become one while also working a different job and being Mom isn’t an option.

Here is where I say thank-you, though, because you are all the best readers I can imagine. You’re generous with your time, your thoughts, and the money you have available, and I never forget how fortunate I am to be part of a circuit of ideas and creativity with you! You make it worthwhile. And I fully expect we’re going to enjoy our serials and our e-books and our conversations in the future. And maybe at some point, I’ll be making enough to afford all the other fun stuff too.

So there you are. There I am. And now I go to work. The one that pays for Child’s school, and I will be grateful for that too.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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